Press Room: Press Releases

Obama Goes "Bold" in a New Approach to Cuba Policy


December 17, 2014

Today President Obama changed the course of U.S.-Cuba relations

Washington, D.C.—Today, President Obama made an historic shift in U.S. relations to Cuba. Moving to end policies that have failed the citizens of Cuba and the United States for over 50 years, the Obama administration has announced plans to update what it calls the United States’ “outdated approach” to relations with the island.

These changes include starting discussions to normalize relations, re-establishing an embassy in Havana, and opening up possibility for travel and economic exchanges.

The Center for International Policy (CIP) has been a leader in pushing for such changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba since the 1990s and applauds this huge step forward that will benefit Cuba, the United States, and the whole of U.S. relations in the Western Hemisphere.

CIP expert Wayne Smith, a former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana who has worked on U.S.-Cuba policy for 56 years, told CNN today from Havana that “this is exactly the right thing to do at this critical moment.” Elizabeth Newhouse, director of CIP's Cuba Project added, “This very exciting and gratifying news is what we have been working for for many years—and we are thrilled that President Obama has chosen to go bold in a new approach to Cuba policy.”

To date, U.S. policy has been counterproductive to U.S. national interests and has not improved the lives of the Cuban people. But today, CIP celebrates these steps towards normalized relations and looks forward to the future. As Newhouse explains, "not only have we secured the release of Alan Gross, but we have embarked on a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba relations that will greatly benefit both countries."

For more information on our analysis of U.S.-Cuba relations, see the following articles: 

Keep the U.S. Trade Embargo Against Cuba?

Squeezing Cuba

The U.S. Needs to Take Steps for Change Alongside Cuba

Reopening Channels of Communication with Cuba

Time to Re-Engage Cuba, At Last


To interview Elizabeth Newhouse or Wayne Smith, who is currently in Cuba, please contact Latin America Program Officer Sarah Kinosian at:
(202) 232-3317